Common sense parenting in spite of my ocean of fears


©Igor Yaruta

Since the death of 24-year-old Canadian track runner Daundre Barnaby on March 27, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I’m raising my children.

Daundre’s tragic accident (he was swimming in the ocean at a training camp in St. Kitts, lost his footing and due to the undertow, was swept out) reminded me of our family trips to the beach in Florida and how my brother and cousins (I was too afraid), dove into the waves with their flutter boards, flipping many times and occasionally struggling to get back. As a parent of two young boys, I am now wondering…. How could they let us play in the ocean? What were my parents thinking?

Of course, I write this in jest. My mother and father were great parents…we survived (another joke…because they’ll be reading this). And, if I had to label their parenting style (as it seems that’s the thing to do these days), I would say they used a common sense style of parenting. I, on the other hand, well, I’m a different story.

On a recent walk to the park, I told my son not to pick up any sticks because he might get a splinter. I proceeded to describe how it would hurt and how I would have to take it out with a needle. My husband stared at me in disbelief, shook his head and told our son to pick up the stick.

Helicopter parent? Maybe a bit.


I love the feeling of walking barefoot on a sun-drenched, wooden deck. I love the warmth…the feeling of freedom…but, I do not love splinters.

I remember getting splinters when I was a child and hating it because my grandmother would take them out with a needle. I remember her taking one out of my foot and another out of the back of my thigh.

But, aside from the occasional splinter, I had a very happy childhood. I grew up with my younger brother and two cousins, who lived down the street. During the long summers we spent the days catching grasshoppers, running through sprinklers, playing at the park until the sun set and walking to Mac’s Milk to buy Popeye cigarettes, Gobstoppers, Nerds and Fun Dip. It was a carefree and innocent time – a time when girls just wanted to have fun and we wore sunglasses at night.

In retrospect, I had a very fulfilling childhood. Although, my parents kept a watchful eye, they let me have fun. They let me feel the soft sand between my toes and they let me taste the salty ocean water as I “jumped” the waves. And, they gave me the opportunity to get a splinter or two.


  1. I am laughing so hard right now just trying to imagine the look of horror on your son’s face at your tactic to scare him into submission.
    Quite a number of us parents are like that, especially mothers. We would wish that our kids never left our sides so we can protect them forever! But we very well know that good parenting is not about raising kids who’ll stay by our sides forever but raising them in such a way that they’ll be able to survive on their own out there. And trusting God to keep them wherever they may be. In any case accidents can happen even in our homes and right where we are. I wrote one post recently on “Worry Free Parenting”. We just have to trust and keep the faith that they will be fine.


    • I agree, Oluseye! It’s just so difficult to let go sometimes…and I see how ridiculous I’m being, but too often the words have already slipped out of my mouth. Thanks for the link, I’lll check it out.

      Liked by 1 person

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